A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again

Health Officials Question Snuff Ban

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Published January 16, 2013

Icelandic health officials have questioned a government proposal to ban the sale of mouth tobacco – or snuff – while it remains legal to sell cigarettes.
The Minister of Welfare has submitted a bill to parliament which would ban the sale of mouth tobacco in Iceland. Snuff use has increased by 25% from 2009 to 2011. This translates to 30 tonnes sold last year alone, and customs estimate that they have seized some 100 kilos of snuff that others attempted to smuggle into the country.
Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson found the trend a worrying one. Last summer, he stated he believes the response should be to greatly increase the tax on mouth tobacco – which likely would not have much effect on smuggled tobacco – or make it illegal altogether.
Morgunblaðið reports that not everyone is thrilled about banning snuff, least of all leading health officials in Iceland.
Both Lúðvík Ólafsson, the medical director of the Primary Health Care of the Capital Area, and Chief Doctor Þorsteinn Blöndal – himself a specialist in respiratory disease – have objected to the ban. They contend that snuff – especially the Swedish “snus”, which is treated to greatly reduce adverse health effects – is far less dangerous than smoking tobacco. They add that cancer is not the only danger that arises from smoking; rather, the smoke can cause all manner of lung disease, while snuff does no harm to the lungs.



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Holuhraun: 4 Square Kilometres Of Lava

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Lava exuding from the Holuhraun eruption stretches 3.5 kilometres from the centre of the fissure and measures approximately 1.6 kilometres at its widest point, reports Vísir. According to the Icelandic Met Office the Holuhraun fissure is 1.5 km long with continuous eruption taking place in a 600-800 m long central section. The area of the lava is roughly 4 square kilometres. Currently, none of the tributaries of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge. A white blueish cloud has been rising from the eruption but its white colour does not suggest that it is an ash cloud. The

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Road To Dettifoss Waterfall Reopens

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The District Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to reopen the road to Dettifoss waterfall on the west side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum as of 08:00 am today, reports the Civil Protection Department. Other roads and hiking trails on the west side of Jökulsá are still closed. The decision has been made, not because the flood risk has gone down – it hasn’t – but because of increased surveillance in the area. As the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun is being intensely monitored and park rangers and additional law enforcement are present in the area it was deemed safe enough to reopen

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Union Official Worried About Tourism Industry Workers

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The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry. “We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.” Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly. “There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who

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Faroese Ship Bids Iceland Adieu

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The beleagured Faroese fishing vessel that ordinary Icelanders assisted despite the cold shoulder from government has bid our fair shores farewell. MBL reports that Næraberg departed from Reykjavík harbour at about 6:00 this morning. At the time of this writing, the ship is about halfway to Greenland, presumably to resume fishing mackerel. As reported, the ship was sailing from Greenland when it encountered engine trouble and radioed Iceland for permission to dock in Reykjavík harbour to conduct repairs. However, citing an obscure law about fishing rights, Icelandic authorities initially only allowed permission for the ship to dock – the crew

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Stormy Weather Is Hurricane Cristobal Petering Out

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The high winds and rain Iceland has been experiencing over the past 36 hours or so are the remains of what was Hurricane Cristobal. Iceland’s mercurial weather caught the attention of science buffs overseas, as Discover Magazine reported late last night that the storm formerly known as Hurrican Cristobal was taking “dead aim” at Iceland. Hurricanes are not common to more northern latitudes. In fact, Cristobal had changed into what is known as a “warm seclusion cyclone” by the time it reached Iceland. This kind of cyclone is characterised by a center of warm, wet air surrounded by cooler air.

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Björk’s Biophilia Film To Premiere In Reykjavík This Week

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Björk’s Biophilia tour went on for almost two years, scoring a huge hit with critics and audiences around the world due to it’s innovative, immersive production. After a long process of trying to fund a definitive concert film of the project, it came right down to the wire, with the final show at London’s cavernous Alexandria Palace becoming the subject of Biophilia Live. BAFTA-award winning editor and filmmaker Nick Fenton, speaking of his experience as co-director, said: “We felt like security guards, in a little booth surrounded by screens and talking to sixteen cameramen and women. You couldn’t feel further

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